This measure is particularly useful for assessing the

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This measure is particularly useful for assessing the relationship between work-family leave policies and gender equality because, while each of the four Gender Gap factors may reflect a nation's work-family leave policies to some extent, the existence of these policies is not directly included in the calculation of any of the factors. The variable under investigation, extent of work-family leave policies, is not conflated with Gender Gap rankings. Id. 2015]
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HOUSTON JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW and number seventeenth among countries classified as "high income." '7 Alarmingly, the gender gap in the United States is greater than the gender gap in the lower-middle income nations of the Philippines, Nicaragua, and Lesotho and even greater than the low-income nation of Burundi. 8 By comparison, Iceland has distinguished itself as a leader in gender equality for several years. Iceland consistently has been ranked first in gender equality in the Global Gender Gap Report since 2009.9 It has been suggested in popular and academic literature that Iceland also has one of the most progressive work- family policies in the world. 10 As such, a comparison of Iceland's work-family law to FMLA may inform strategies for addressing FMLA's weaknesses in an effort to remedy the persistent gender inequality in the United States. This Comment will explore the linkages between the deficiencies of the FMLA and the persistent presence of gender inequality in the United States, utilizing Iceland as a comparator for methods to facilitate greater gender balance through the structure of family leave laws. After discussing existing research on the relationships between family leave laws and societal gender inequality, I will discuss the provisions of the FMLA most relevant to family leave. I will then provide an overview of Iceland's Act on Maternity/Paternity and Parental Leave. Then I will discuss key differences between the two laws and offer suggestions for how Iceland's law may be incorporated into US law and policy. Finally, I will close with a discussion of the 7. Id. at 17 tbl.4. 8. Id. 9. Id. at 8-9 tbl.3a. 10. See Dwyer Gunn, How Should Parental Leave Be Structured? Ask Iceland, SLATE (Apr. 3, 2013, 1:17 PM), paternity-leave in iceland helps-mom-succeed at work and dad succeed at.html (arguing that Iceland is at the forefront of policy movements in favor of nontransferable paternity leave); see also Gu~n Bjork Eydal & Tine Rostgaard, Gender Equality Revisited - Changes in Nordic Childcare Policies in the 2000s, 45 SOC. POL'Y & ADMIN. 161, 174 (2011) (describing Iceland's shared parental leave policy as progressive among Nordic countries and likewise, influential outside the region); Katrin Bennhold, Paternity Leave Law Helps to Redefine Masculinity in Sweden, N.Y. TIMES, June 15, 2010, at A6 (noting that Iceland has gone the furthest in reserving three months of paternity leave for fathers).
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